CREAMY WHIPPED FETA W/ CARROT PESTO

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THE PROBLEM WITH AN ANTIPASTO THAT TASTES THIS GOOD, IS…

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TONIGHT, I think, a good part of the known universe in food-blogosphere, is preparing for the meticulously collaborated, epically “trashed up” baby shower of the year, for one of the most beloved stranger, whom we call friend.  This is certainly, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the most happening event that I was ever invited to, for the past one two (other than the appearance at my own birth) three-plus decades.  So you see, this is big.

If you are anything like me, at the moments before what looks surely to be a gastronomically impressive party, with booze in your hands, you’d start fiddling your fingers for something to nibble on.  And this is exactly where something like this, is punctually welcomed.

This is an inspiration from both Bon Appetit, as well as another stranger-friend, that I literally just made 2 hours ago and could not wait to share.  An incredibly creamy, almost creme-fraiche-like whipped feta cheese, swirled together with sweet, slow-cooked baby carrot pesto freshened up with its own parsley-like fronds.  This feta, I should remind you, isn’t that feta, something that you generally push with a discontented fork around a pile of cucumbers and tomatoes.  You cannot imagine, after a good run in the food-processor with whole milk and white wine, how un-feta-like the feta can become.  The saltiness, a prominent characteristic of this particular cheese, contrasts deliciously with the slowly sautéed carrots and the extracted sweetness, that all in all, will make a torn piece of crusty bread taste extraordinary.

Well, as I know all too well myself, the problem with an antipasto that tastes this good, is that it robs the appetite you’re saving for the main attractions.  To that dilemma, I really have no answer, for tomorrow what’s in store, is also gonna blow you away.

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CREAMY WHIPPED FETA W/ CARROT PESTO

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

    FOR CARROT PESTO:
  • 11 oz (310 grams) baby carrots with fronds (weight of carrots without fronds = 7.8 oz/220 grams)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) extra virgin olive oil, plus more to adjust
  • 2 clove smashed garlic, divided
  • 1 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 3/4 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Splash of tabasco sauce
  • FOR WHIPPED FETA:
  • 14 oz (400 grams) creamy style feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) whole milk
  • 1 tbsp white wine

Instructions

  1. TO MAKE THE CARROT PESTO: If you can't find baby carrots with fronds/leaves, you can substitute with normal carrots and parsley. Dice the baby carrots into small chunks and reserve the fronds/leaves. You have about 1 1/2 cup diced carrots. Add the carrots, extra virgin olive oil, 1 smashed garlic (leave another one for later), fresh thyme leaves, salt, ground black pepper and ground turmeric in a pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 ~ 20 min, until the carrots are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, in a stone-mortar or food-processor, puree the reserved smashed garlic, anchovy fillet, light brown sugar, white wine vinegar and tabasco sauce. Add the cooked carrots and all its oil, then pulse/pound until the mixture is coarsely ground. Add 2 more tbsp of extra virgin olive oil if the consistency is too thick. Stir in about 1/4 cup of chopped carrot fronds. Set aside.
  3. TO WHIP THE FETA: Cut the creamy feta (usually come in blocks) into small chunks, then add to a food-processor along with whole milk and white wine. Run until the mixture is smoothly pureed and creamy.
  4. Serve the whipped feta with carrot pesto and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with crusty breads.

Notes

Choose feta cheese labeled as "creamy" instead of "crumbly".

The amount of sugar added to the pesto may seem like a lot for savoury dishes, but it's needed to balance out the saltiness in the feta.

http://ladyandpups.com/2014/11/03/creamy-whipped-feta-w-carrot-pesto/
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31 Comments

  • I love feta so much, I am a typical Greek I must say. Whipped feta has long been a classic Greek dip that is typically mixed with spicy green peppers or red chillies to make it spicy. (I’m sorry to mention this but I can’t control myself. Apetina is not feta by any stretch of the imagination. It has an awful flavor and nothing like a real Greek feta should be.)
    That carrot pesto is something I need to try as soon as possible! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Magda: Oh my really!!?? This is what I could find in the Beijing Grocery… Please please let me know if there’s an international brand that you would recommend? Thanks!!!!!

      • If you can find Dodoni feta in Beijing, it would be great! It is the best one to be found outside of Greece (it is also sold in Greece and it is actually Greek). It is in brine and it retains its moisture and flavor. Reading this back, it sounds like I’m trying to “sell” it. haha I’m not! It’s the only feta I can find outside of Greece that I enjoy. I am a Greek expat living in Holland for the past 7 years, so apart from the feta my mom brings me whenever she visits, that’s the only one I eat. :)
        Thanks Mandy!

  • I never thought there would come a day when I’d pin one of your recipes in the ‘recipes to make’ category rather than in ‘food porn/dark foods’. I love this so, so, sooooooo much <3
    (Though I NEED some of the noodles in this blog in my life and I absolutely want to try some at some point)

  • I am so limited here in the hinterlands on the outskirts of Tokyo. I could go all the way to the other side of Tokyo, spending $15.00 on trains and subways, 3 changes just to get there, to get to a big foreign food super market that might have all the ingridents. But, and this a big but, I might just be able to get real Greek feta in an imported foods shop not too far from where I live. Maybe, maybe, maybe! But I don’t know if it will be creamy. And I don’t have a Kitchenaid so I will have to use a pestle and mortar to blend it. But this looks soooo worth it! I love that creamy orange color, too!
    Yummy! Yummy!

  • First, you made me laugh with your ‘spammers choking in sriracha’ then you made me do a math problem. ;) But you made up for it with this spread / dip. There just aren’t enough recipes that include anchovy – I’m so intrigued by it with the other flavors in this! I’m hosting a a dinner get-together next week – this will be on the table!

  • Hi Mandy
    Made this the other night for friends. They were mad crazy about it, falling over each other to get more. I had to slow them down lest they spoil their dinner. Sheesh.
    Then they all wanted the recipe,
    Next time I think I will slip a little creme fraiche into it.

    Linda

  • Hi,

    Looks great! Do you think it’s possible (and still tasty) to make this a day earlier before eating it?

    Going to try it next week!

  • i made this for my drink & draw event this evening and it is brilliant! the complex, beautiful flavors of the carrot, the saltiness of the whipped feta are perfect together! taking it with a load of homemade focaccia. they’re gonna love it!

  • Made this last night to watch the debate with friends and it was (1) ridiculously good (2) ridiculously fast (3) ridiculously beautiful. It looks fancier than it is. I used anchovy paste instead of a fillet, used crumbly versus creamy feta but just added a touch more milk, and served with crackers instead of crusty bread and it was all good. Like most things, I’m going to figure out how to turn my leftovers into a salad dressing. UNRELATED: Everything on this blog is dope.

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